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Bike Lane Among Safety Improvements Slated for Next Phase of Queens Blvd.

By Katie Honan | February 12, 2016 8:52am
 The former
The former "Boulevard of Death" will get fixes between Roosevelt and Jamaica avenues. 
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ELMHURST — The city is moving forward with its next phase of reforming the "Boulevard of Death" into a safer street for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

A request for proposals was issued for fixes to Queens Boulevard from Roosevelt to Jamaica avenues, which will be similar to the work done elsewhere in Woodside, Sunnyside and Long Island City. 

Plans will be focused on making the boulevard safer for all, including a redesign of the medians and malls that will "calm traffic and provide a safer, more inviting, and accessible space for pedestrians as well as a separated and protected bicycle lane to allow for safe cyclist travel along the boulevard," according to the RFP.

Along with a bike lane planned for the stretch, trees, benches, bus shelters and other design elements would also be added to the public space, officials said.

And traffic flow will be "optimized" with the removal of some service road access lanes and relocating buses to the main road, the document says. 

At "hot spots" — places on the Boulevard with major safety concerns — there could be additional changes to the street, according to the RFP.

While the project is in its infancy, Councilman Danny Dromm brought up the changes at Community Board 4's general meeting on Tuesday and urged people to keep an open mind.

One board member asked where a bike lane would go along the busy Queens Center Mall, and said there wasn't room.

Dromm said safety was the main goal.

"The fact of the matter is, there are people bicycling [on Queens Boulevard] already so I think what we have to do is come up with a plan that works for as many people as possible," he said. 

Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference near the new Queens Boulevard bike lanes to announce the city had been its safest under new Vision Zero initiatives.